MAN draws attention to non-budgetary allocation to dredging ports outside Lagos

File photo

The Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called attention to the non-allocation in the 2019 budget to dredging of ports that are in other locations outside of Lagos.

In its perspective on the 2019 budget, the association said its concerns were based on the fact that the Lagos Ports; Tin- Can Island and Apapa, had long been faced with congestion, a situation that could be addressed if other ports are utilised fully.
Citing President Muhammadu Buhari’s budget speech, MAN noted that the N194.24bn capital allocation to the development of transportation infrastructure was a 26.2 per cent reduction from the N263.10bn allocation in 2018.
The association observed also that the N80.22bn allocation for counterpart funding of railway projects, and the N27.12bn allocation for rehabilitation of rail tracks and general maintenance/running of the rail system, were critical.
The association further maintained that no country in the world had ever become fully industrialised without a robust railway system.
“However, no mention is made of the need to dredge the various ports outside Lagos State to decongest Tin Can Island and Wharf ports and reduce the cost of moving goods from ports to the factories,” it noted.
Equally, the association observed that there was a 32.5 per cent reduction in the allocation to agriculture and rural development in the budget.
It stated, “The allocation to agriculture and rural development is N80.29bn, which is 32.5 per cent lower than N118.98bn allocation of 2018.”
It, however, described as ‘commendable,’ the N15.66bn allocation for promotion and development of agriculture value chains across more than 30 different commodities and N2.69bn for extension services, including other projects.
On the outlook for 2019, the association predicted that judging from Nigeria’s budget trends, the proposal might undergo late passage, adding that “the resultant negative effect on the overall economic ambiance of the country might be colossal for an economy whose current growth rate was still fragile.”
Analysing the budget further, the association predicted a contraction in investment inflow into the country, owing to an increase in interest rates in developed markets.
It said also that being an election year, the performance of the budget would to a large extent depend on the transparency and credibility of the election.
MAN concluded that the 2019 budget appeared to be an extension of the 2018 budget, as no new grounds were explored.
“There is the need to properly align the assumptions of the budget with economic realities,” it added.
The Punch